New study highlights potential of mitochondria-targeted chemotherapies. Scientists have discovered promising new drugs that work in concert with other drugs to deliver a deadly one-two punch to leukemia.

New Leukemia-Killing Compounds Discovered

The researchers are from Rice University and the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Although the potential drugs are still years away from being tested in cancer patients, a study published recently in the journal Leukemia-Killing underscores their potential and the innovative methods that led to their discovery. Previous studies by the research teams of Rice biochemist Natasha Kirienko and MD Anderson physician-scientist Marina Konopleva screened around 45,000 small-molecule compounds to find a few that targeted mitochondria. In the new research, they chose eight of the most promising compounds and identified between five and 30 closely related analogs for each. Then they conducted tens of thousands of tests to systematically determine how toxic each analog was to Leukemia-Killing cells, both when administered individually or in combination with existing chemotherapy drugs like doxorubicin.

One of the big challenges was to establish optimal conditions and doses for testing on both cancer cells and healthy cells,” said study lead author Svetlana Panina, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin who conducted the research during her postdoctoral studies at Rice. “The results from our previously published cytotoxicity assay were helpful, but very little is known about these small-molecule compounds. None of them had been thoroughly described in other studies, and we had to essentially start from scratch to determine how much to use, what they do in cells, everything. All the doses and treatment conditions had to be adjusted by multiple preliminary experiments.”

Source: This news is originally published by scitechdaily

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